Sunday, 22 July 2007


Concept designed by Imfumu Chibesakunda XI, Chona Nkumba Palace, Private Bag Chona Nkumba, Chamusenga, Mobile 097 782 6539, e-mail:, Mutambe, Chinsali, Zambia.

1. Summary of the Action

The Project Proposal presented here aims at a socio-economic empowerment of rural communities in selected remote areas of Zambia, under their traditional leaderships, through the promotion and use of the economic potential of each member Chiefdom. The project centres on a business model that uses Chiefdom’s natural assets as a sustainable engine of growth, in close cooperation and partnership with the private sector. Through this approach, it aims at eliminating poverty and leading steadily into a path of broad based wealth creation.

In Log Frame terminology, the Specific Objective of the Project (Project Purpose) is: «Organised member communities make use of their economic assets in the designated Chiefdom’s economic growth areas for their socio-economic empowerment». The expected Outputs, in terms of services provided by the Project, are:

1. To jump starting accelerated development within the Project’s catchment’s area. (Community Economic Mobilisation)
2. The managerial and organisational competence of rural communities within the target area, based on their traditional leadership structures, are strengthened and brought in line with the Project Objectives. (Organisational Development)
3. Member communities are familiarised with investment characteristics and inherent economic potential in their respective community areas. (Rural Community Socio - Economic Emancipation)
4. Production and Commercial investment options at community level are tested and used. (Targeted and Enhanced Community Production and Investment)
5. Upward linkages to industrial and commercial processes of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial projects by mid-sized private sector partners are facilitated. (Enterprise Development)

This will lead to the achievement of the overall objective in terms of benefits for the communities as well as the country: «Rural communities in targeted remote areas of Zambia cover their own economic needs and participate economically in the national economy as equal partners».

By using this model, targeted poverty reduction will be achieved through increased economic activity. This model further delivers the process of rural community use of the abundant unused customary lands as economic assets that can be equitably turned into sustainable vehicles of wealth creation. In these areas additional income for rural smallholders will be mobilised and galvanised. With view to the high poverty levels in the country, this project is ideal as a poverty reduction agent in this respect. The organisational development aspect of the proposal will further ensure that the smallholders get organised and are empowered to better understand and use their market power, and to get a fair share of the economic potential of their assets in their respective areas. This is done through the traditional organisational structures of development oriented, progressive chiefdoms which are economically revived and strengthened and have the potential to provide the institutional basis for powerful smallholder associations and business undertakings as business partners of private sector operators in the various sectors of the Zambian economy. For covering local value added on the produce produced in these areas processing will be done in the respective designated member chiefdom growth areas (which are still quite remote and have no prospects of being serviced in the near future). By testing and using this model, processing will be done at community level. Cottage processing economic activities will be activated, without the need of importing finished or value added goods from far away at high cost into the communities. Intermediate technology that can help enhance production, marketing or commerce will be used. Equipment like hammer mills for the milling of the staple food, maize or finger millet, diesel generators for energy requirements in areas not serviced by the national electricity grid will be promoted. Intermediate transport options will be promoted and introduced in these communities. Construction of planned and serviced settlements will be encouraged. The member Chiefdoms will also explore and test possible intervention areas for cheap alternative energy like solar and bio energy production.

Initially, the Project will concentrate on organising a minimum of 10 and maximum of 17 communities in Northern, Luapula and Central Provinces. All the target chiefdoms are characterised by the remoteness of their locations, and by the development orientation of their traditional leaders. In this way, the project is further designed in a way that it can serve as role models for other chiefdoms to join later, for the empowerment of their local communities around this model.

The Project idea was borne by the Senior Chief Chibesakunda, who approached the World Bank for cooperation in the design and backstopping of this Community Project based on this model. His project idea was to create a model that would help galvanise the target communities into viable tools of development and ultimately start the process of positively confronting the issue of poverty reduction at community level.

The project will initially target a minimum of 60,000 and maximum 102,000 people within the target communities, about 6,000 households in each active member Chiefdom of the Foundation’s catchments area. It is envisaged that Community-based schemes like this one in different target parts of the country would supplement and benefit from each other, through an exchange of experiences and mutual help in upgrading their business and development models.

Based on these project areas, the Project is designed around a synergy with past and present support measures in areas such as the Umutambe community of Chief Chibesakunda and Chief Chibale’s community where development activities such as COMACO (Common Market for Conservation) are already being implemented, that can - through the Project - also be transferred to the other project communities in the other target Provinces. The Umutambe community and Chief Chibale’s community are some setting for the Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) project in Chinsali and Serenje where communities proximate to Game Management Areas (GMAs) are being supported through input provision, conservation messages, processing technology and marketing

With regard to the uplink to commercial companies with the applying communities there will be the Northern Harvest Plc, a home grown Public Limited, mainly drawing its membership to this company from community members of the target communities. This company will be actively interested in a linkage to the project target communities and will be committed to a fair business practice approach that will provide a platform for the various community members to participate in the economic benefits of their efforts.

For example, it is a very recent trend that private sector biofuels companies have begun starting their operation in the country, with the expectation that sooner or later bio diesel blending, or the sale of 100% bio diesel as commercial fuel, will become the standard in the Zambian energy sector, with a nearly unlimited demand for locally produced biofuels.

However, without project support, it is far more profitable for the private sector to secure lands for the establishment of own plantations, and not to get engaged in the tedious business with a large number of small out growers. Hence, the Foundation aims at facilitating the link between out growers who are emerging from a subsistence agriculture level, to medium sized business players who guarantee the economic sustainability of the business approach. In this way transparency will be facilitated in the pricing mechanism and support farmers in gaining an economic understanding of the price-relevant factors. The Foundation can further identify viable partnerships providing seeds to the target communities on an independent revolving scheme, that way the Foundation will also reduce the dependency of the farmers on a particular company who may use the supply of the initial seeds as a mechanism to prevent competing companies from buying the feedstock from “their” out growers. This way the Foundation will ensure that emerging competition among the private sector companies will provide the respective communities with a higher and collective bargaining power, and will enable them to achieve a higher price for their produce.

For Projects the Foundation will play the role of applicant, on behalf of the Network of Target Communities, and would act as imprest administrator and imprest accounting officer, under the direct supervision of representatives of the main community stakeholders in the project. The Foundation will have a Secretariat. The Secretariat will have the central functions for administering the Programme Estimates under an externalised direct labour modality. This organisational set-up will leave the ownership with the community network, while ensuring a professional administrative and financial management of the project. It is anticipated that over the project period of three years, the network and its member community organisations will have matured to continue selected project operations by themselves, and will be in a position to continue their business partnerships with the private sector companies in an emancipated and mutually beneficial way, without external project management support.

The benefits of the project will firstly be at the level of the individual community member, whose efforts will enable to cover their own household economic needs as well as to emerge as commercially successful entrepreneur. But the project will also benefit the country for which the poverty levels are a tremendous burden. The increase in community earnings will also have additional social benefits to the beneficiary communities.

2. Relevance

2.1 Relevance to the Needs and Constraints of the Target Country and Regions

With Zambia being classified as a Least Developed country, the reduction of poverty is a matter of economic survival. The communities requesting assistance are severely under serviced and are characterised by widespread poverty, with poverty levels averaging above 80%. The economic potential of the Target communities is unparalleled for a country where land resources are abundant, however with poor soils and high drought risk.

2.2 Identification of Problems and Needs

The communities involved have very little cash crop alternatives and mainly depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. This does not provide them with sufficient cash income for covering their other needs, including expenses for schooling and health care. Only a tiny fraction of the areas of the respective chiefdoms are serviced by some sort of development. Despite poverty reduction being a national programme, poverty in most chiefs’ communities seems to be on the increase. Therefore, rural poverty reduction has become one of the focal areas for upgrading the living standards of poor rural households.

2.3 Final Beneficiaries, Target Groups, and Intermediaries

In each of the chiefdoms, participatory planning and priority setting sessions have been held under the Strategic District Development Planning process, initiated by the District Councils as the local Government, with financial assistance by the World Bank funded Zambia Social Investment Fund (Zamsif). With viable economic alternative Projects being identified, the implementation of the proposed measures will be organised through traditional organisational structures, where democratic management procedures have been introduced and where there is a great opportunity for grass root involvement in decision making processes. These traditional leadership structures are intermediaries whose actions are considered as co-funding of the Action. The resulting economic and technical capacity empowerment will ensure the long-term sustainability of the approach.

2.4 Relevance of the Proposal to the Call for Proposals

With its focus on poverty reduction in rural communities, to be achieved through economically and ecologically sustainable technical solutions in partnership with the private sector, and through enhancing local self-help capacities under the auspices and ownership of traditional leadership structures, the proposal is at the core of the objectives and intentions of the call for proposal.

2.5 Added Value by Reference to Other Interventions

The project proposal is well linked with ongoing measures funded by various cooperating partners. These include the country programme of GTZ, including ProBec which is funded by the Netherlands Government, the EU-Conservation Farming Project, as well as the Norwegian Government support to Umutambe Community Foundation. In addition, under the Accompanying Measures for the EU Sugar Reform, Zambia has applied for assistance to start with the production of biofuels by introducing ethanol blending from sugar, and to expand the sugar out grower schemes to increase the overall production for this import substitution purpose. Both of these components will be concentrating on the sugar production areas in Southern and Northern Province, and will thereby also offer synergy effects with the Royal Empowerment Foundation.

3. Methodology and Sustainability

3.1 Appropriateness of proposed activities for the objectives and expected results

The institutional links to relevant national public authorities will be maintained through the Foundation’s presence at national level, as well as through the personal contacts and institutional linkages of the chiefs involved, including through the House of Chiefs as a national consultative body. The type of technology suggested is appropriate for the household level (use of bio oil for lamps and stoves), the community level (use of intermediate technology for machinery), and at the level of the industrial uplink through the private sector processing of products. With biodiesel being promoted as a new venture in Zambia, the energy service delivery model has not been established yet. However, experiences from other countries, including the European Union shows that this is a fast growing market with a high potential in a land locked country like Zambia. The Foundation will strategically position itself to venture.

3.2 Involvement and participation of partners and target groups

The proposed project is well in line with Government priorities in the sectors agriculture (promotion of small-holder out grower schemes), energy (promotion of bio-energy), and decentralisation (utilisation of traditional leadership structures for development planning and management) as stated in the recently adopted Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP). The rural communities are mobilised to participate through their traditional leaders who are still maintaining a strong influence in the countryside.

3.3 Prospects for a sustainable impact on the target group

The proposed activities have a very high probability of inducing sustainable long-term impacts for the socio-economic situation of the households, utilisation of the development potential of traditional community leadership structures, and the local as well as national environment.

4. Operational Capacity and Expertise.

4.1 Project Management Experience of the Applicants

It is seen that the community based initiatives would, for the time being, not have the managerial capacity to administer a Donor-funded project of the scale as proposed here. Therefore, the Northern Harvest Plc and links to the national and economic policy, as well as its link to the professional business ethics and access to the relevant resources was brought in and will smoothen these current weaknesses. Nevertheless, day-to-day management and operations of the project will be largely executed by the target communities themselves. Among the community organisations involved, it is in particular Senior Chief Chibesakunda who has gained extensive project management experience in his previous professional career as a business consultant for design and implementation engagements (e.g. NORAD Project, funded by the Norwegian Government, Nacala Development Corridor Project, funded by the Development Bank of South Africa). Part of the project will also be to strengthen the respective management capacities among the communities involved.

4.2 Technical and Energy Expertise of the Applicants

All communities have already technical expertise of some sort. At the local level, the Umutambe Community Development Foundation Limited is already active with the search for technical solutions in the management of their affairs for various purposes including social development.

The Conservation Farming Unit of the Zambia National Farmers Union also in collaboration with the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) has 10 years experience in the development and promotion of more efficient Conservation Farming production for small-scale farmers and has been at the forefront of promoting the exciting opportunities provided by Jatropha cultivation for rural communities. With respect to bio-energy use and technical energy solutions, the intended partnership with the cooperating private sector companies will ensure the availability of the required technical expertise.

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